A team of researchers has elaborated a new method that would facilitate the study of the mechanics that lead to the appearance of amyloid fibrils linked to conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
The concept is known under the name of a ring-sheared drop, and it employs the unique traits of the microgravity environment generated by the ISS to explore the effects of shear stress on a reduction of protein fluid.
A great boon comes from the fact that the drop of protein will not be influenced by the contact with a petri dish, which is used to house it on Earth. The method involves the use of a syringe that can release a significant drop of liquid protein into a zero-gravity environment. Two thin metal rings will keep the protein in place, and one of them can be used to shear or apply stress on the protein. Researchers aim to learn more about the way in which the shear stress can favor the development of amyloid fibrils.
Experimental ISS technology to provide more data on the human body
At this point, this method is used for an active experiment tied to protein insulin. It is believed that researchers could understand more about the processes that take place when protein moves within the human body. During a small-scale experiment associated with RDS technology, the team of researchers simulated a microgravity field in controlled laboratory conditions.
The simulation involved the suspension of the floating liquid protein drop in another liquid of the same density, and the results were quite impressive.
It appears that the deformation of the drop is caused by the combined forces of viscosity and inertia along with surface tension. Further research will take place as the team has received a research grant that will allow the scientists to perform new experiments that could unearth valuable data for the pharmaceutical industry. The initial study has been published in a scientific journal.